Perfume Genius blessed us with the gorgeous album Set My Heart on Fire Immediately last year, but that hasn’t stopped him from recording extra tracks and cover songs on the side in the meantime. Over the weekend, he took to his Substack to continue that trend by sharing a gloomy cover of Gloria Gaynor’s everlasting 1978 hit “I Will Survive.” Stream it below.
In a new post on the Perfume Genius Substack, the artist born Mike Hadreas explained why he wound up covering this song in particular. “I recorded this at home for a commercial pitch, but they didn’t give me the money,” he wrote. “I suppose the cover is a little deathbed-y, I was very serious that day, but i like how it turned out. In particular the last moment… i might stretch that in to something new.”
Clocking in just over three minutes, his version of “I Will Survive” is certainly somber and dark, as promised. After opening with a few stilted piano chords and soft hums that almost sound like the wind, Perfume Genius’ gorgeous voice enters the frame, repurposing Gaynor’s original lyrics so they feel more downtrodden and exasperated than they do victorious or courageous. It’s a beautiful take on the song, even if it wasn’t picked up by the advertising company he pitched.
Accompanying the track is some found footage that Hadreas discovered online. “I dug around online for a while, looking for video to pair it with, and ended up with an old bowflex commercial and forest fire footage that I spliced together,” he explained. “Happy to share it with you. Goodbye everyone.”
In case you missed it, Perfume Genius will hit the road next month for a string of tour dates, including some opening gigs for Death Cab for Cutie. Check out the complete list of concerts on his docket and try your luck snagging tickets here.